The Sonoma State University’s women’s water polo team made school history this weekend when it placed second at the WWPA Championship in Geneva, Ohio. It was a long fought battle, but the women proved themselves a threat to their opponents. Starting the tournament off as the No. 3 seed school, they beat the odds by making it to the finals against the No. 1 seed UC San Diego.
The Seawolves started their journey to the championship game off strong on Friday when they faced off against the Gannon Knights. They set the tone early on when Cassidy Mundt, Nicole Groat and Keira Dailey each found the back of the net. The Knights weren’t able to score until right before the first quarter came to a close, and only scored their second goal with a little more than three minutes left in the first half.
The third quarter was one to remember for the Seawolves when they sank five points total to pull even farther ahead of their opponents.
“Playing our first game against Gannon was definitely a positive. We were able to get out all of our nerves to prepare for East Bay,” Groat said. “The most exciting part was that everyone played a role in all of our games this weekend, primarily in our first game.”
In their matchup against the Knights, seven of the women scored. Carleigh Robinson and Groat led the team on points in this win. Starting off with hot hands, they made it nearly impossible for the Knights to catch up.
Ending the game with a winning score of 12-6, the Seawolves were ready for their second game against Cal State East Bay. It was back and forth the whole game, but the women were able to maintain their momentum and pull off a 7-6 win with less than a minute on the clock.
“Any team is beatable on any given day,” Sonoma State’s head coach Chelsea Hennen said in a postgame interview. “We have the talent to do it, we’ve spent the last time not necessarily scouting on the other team, focusing on our fundamentals and what works for us as Sonoma State water polo.”
The Pioneers gained a 3-1 lead against the Seawolves early on during the second quarter until Sonoma State snuck three consecutive goals past the Pioneers to take control of the game with a 4-3 lead with less than four minutes left in the third quarter.
East Bay was able to steal the lead again taking the score to 5-4, but the Seawolves were able to tie up the score when Groat scored before the end of the third quarter.
With just under five minutes left, the Pioneers slowly edged back into the game, bringing the score to 6-6. It was looking like the two teams would be battling it out in overtime until Robinson blew everyone away by scoring the winning goal with only 32 seconds left on the clock.
“Defensively we knew they would stay back and try to protect the post because we had been looking to get it in on the posts. Carleigh’s hot; when Carleigh wants it, Carleigh puts it away,” head coach Hennen said in her postgame interview. “So she went in and put it in the back of the net for us. What a great feeling for this team and for this program.”
The tournament ended with the Seawolves losing to UC San Diego 15-4. The top seeded team is No. 18 and has six WWPA titles. Sonoma State’s Goalie had 12 saves against this tough competitor, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
This is the best Sonoma State has ever placed in the tournament, with three players chosen for the WWPA All-tournament teams: Robinson, Plorin, and Lyndsie Williams. Plorin and Robinson gained first team honors while Williams received second team.